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Modest Needs Foundation: Help Out People Affected by the Financial Crisis

If you have $10-20 to give this season, a foundation called Modest Needs lets you find an individual or organization for whom that amount could make a positive difference. The cool thing about Modest Needs, which was just featured in CNN, is that it crowdsources small donations to make big changes for a person or charity whose cause means a lot to you.

I’m excited that somebody made it so easy to help people stuck in a personal financial crisis situation (these days, there are many). CNN has more:

Here’s how it works: People e-mail their requests — help with rent or a car repair or a medical bill, for example — to Modest Needs, whose seven-person staff researches and verifies their legitimacy. The vetted requests are then posted on ModestNeeds.org, where donors can choose which ones they want to help fund. Once the funding level is reached, a check is sent out.

Gift certificates are available. A donor can contribute any amount and then let the gift recipient decide where it should go.

“You’re talking about huge, huge numbers of individual people giving just a little bit of what they have to make the lives of people who have short-term emergencies a little bit better by just keeping them on track, keeping them out of the social services system altogether,” (founder Keith) Taylor said.

Those individual contributions are multiplied by matching grants from larger donors. People often don’t realize how powerful just 10 or 20 dollars can be, Taylor said. In many cases, a small amount can stop a crisis in its tracks.

“It’s wonderful to see what this does for people,” Taylor said. “You don’t find out until after the fact what kind of an impact these little contributions that people are making; … you have no idea what kind of a change you really are making in the person’s life.”

It’s nice to give back to people in your own country, Kiva-style. I encourage you to check out the site.

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